November 2007

Yes, Minister has always been tragically true to the reality of UK government. Yet another example of how close to the reality was mentioned today on BBC News 24. In a discussion about the impact of the comprehensive spending review on DEFRA, it was mentioned that “all departments are having to find a 5% administrative saving”. There was an episode of Yes, Minister in which that was the exact source (even the same number) of a battle between the Minister and Humphrey.

A colleague asked me a question about licensing. In this case of learning objects, but linking in to software and other works. In writing my specific answer to his query I found I needed to explain some of my pragmatic views on licensing, and realised that this part of my response was worth preserving and making available to others as well.


Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with
You scored as Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)The universe is erupting into war and your government picks the wrong side. How much worse could things get? It doesn’t matter, because no matter what you have your friends and you’ll do the right thing. In the end that will be all that matters. Now if only the Psi Cops would leave you alone.

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)
Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)
Serenity (Firefly)
Heart of Gold (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)
Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)
Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)
Moya (Farscape)
SG-1 (Stargate)
Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)
Enterprise D (Star Trek)
FBI’s X-Files Division (The X-Files)

I’ve always liked supernatural thrillers, although they were few and far between until recently. Starting with Laurell K. Hamilton (there were others writing such stuff before her but she seems to have been the first really high profile success – and yes, I’m ignoring Anne Rice here) and her Anita Blake series, there has been a growing sub-genre of urban gothic. It usually posits a re-emergence of some or all of the traditional ghosts and ghoulies into society, either completely openly or partly hidden.

However, being a fan of the supernatural thriller elements in this fiction, I’ve ended up reading a bunch of stuff which has a 180 page supernatural thriller buried inside a 500 page book filled out with kinky sex. I don’t mind the odd sex scene in my fiction. Sex is part of life and including it in fiction can round out the emotional content. However, I find that many of these books are descending into what I’ve decided to dub “Thrills and Moon”, where the sex becomes the principle story and the thriller element becomes a sideline. Here is a list of some of the books in the supernatural thriller category I’ve read, with an indication of how much Thrills and Moon element they contain (all in my opinion of course).


The UK government has commissioned a review of children’s access to online material. Are we about to see an attempt by the UK government to introduce CDA, COPA or ChIPA-style laws over here, and without the protections of a constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech that led to those acts being substantially struck down by the US Supreme Court?